Mr. Tuna’s new space at 83 Middle St., where the owners hope to open by April. Courtesy of Mr. Tuna

After months of delay, Mr. Tuna’s planned move to a new space on Middle Street is back on track, and the restaurant’s co-owner aims for a spring opening.

“It’s moving really fast,” Mr. Tuna co-owner Jordan Rubin said. “We’re looking at about a three-month build, so we’re targeting an April opening at the moment.”

Rubin’s team had originally planned to move the sushi restaurant last summer from its stall at the Public Market House into a newly constructed building at 83 Middle St. in Portland, but they weren’t able to get into their 1,500-square-foot space to start the buildout soon enough.

“It was looking like we wouldn’t have been open until September or even October, and I didn’t want to open after the season,” Rubin explained. “So we pushed it off and picked everything back up Jan. 1.”

Rubin and his partner, Marisa Lewiecki, have hired Woodhull architects and builders as well as Mey & Co interior design, which also created the interior aesthetic for Bar Futo, which they launched in 2022. The new venue will seat about 28 inside and 20 more at outside tables.

Rubin plans to close Mr. Tuna in the Market House sometime in March, as close to the new restaurant opening as possible to avoid a long gap in operation. He said the new venue will feature a “very lively design with a fun, casual atmosphere;” full table service; a full bar with wine, beer, cocktails and sake; and some new menu items.


“We’ve always wanted a restaurant for Mr. Tuna,” Rubin said, noting that the business started as a food cart in 2017, then became a stall in the Market House in 2018. “The market is a food hall, and we thought Mr. Tuna deserved its own stand-alone space. It was very useful for us to be there, but we’re ready to make the move.”


The owners of Terlingua are launching a brunch restaurant this spring in the former space of The Danforth in Portland’s West End neighborhood.

“We’ve been searching for a little while for a place to do a brunch concept, and we were lucky enough to find the old Danforth building,” said Pliny Reynolds, co-owner of Terlingua along with his wife, Melanie. “I think there’s an opening for brunch in Portland, and we’re hoping to fill some of that void.”

The Reynolds are under contract to buy the building at 211 Danforth St. The 2,500-square-foot restaurant, to be named Ocotillo, can accommodate about 106 guests total, including seating at the bar and in barroom booths, more formal seating in the adjacent dining room, and a back patio.

“We’re going to do a Terlingua-inspired brunch concept that’ll marry a lot of the Texas-style barbecue and the Mexican-inspired influences we have been working with for years,” Reynolds said. The draft menu for Ocotillo – named for a plant native to northern Mexico and the American Southwest that is a close relative of the blueberry bush – features dishes like churros, huevos rancheros divorciados, a selection of breakfast tacos and eggs Benedicts, various tortas and Texas French toast.


Ocotillo will be open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Sunday to start, though the owners hope to expand to seven days a week by summer. Reynolds said following interior renovations, he expects Ocotillo will be ready to open sometime in March.


The Maine Maple Producers Association is holding its annual competition later this week to taste-test various Maine syrups.

The competition is set for Friday, Jan. 19, in Gray, coinciding with the association’s annual meeting. Judging begins around 9 a.m. and concludes in the early afternoon; judges include expert maple taster Jason Lilley, the sustainable agriculture and maple industry educator at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. The event is not open to the public, but the results are.

Awards will be granted to winners for the best grades of syrup in the four categories: Golden Delicate, Amber Rich, Dark Robust and Very Dark Strong, as well as maple cream and maple candies.



The 8th Portland On Tap craft beer festival is set for Saturday, Feb. 10, at the Cross Insurance Arena.

Event organizers said festival goers can expect about 45 vendors presenting 2-3 beverages each, including craft beer, cider, kombucha and small-batch distilled spirits. “We’re really excited to have more local breweries in attendance this year,” said spokesperson Brigid Clare, listing breweries like Bissell Brothers, Rising Tide, Liquid Riot, Belleflower and more.

Event attendance will be capped at 1,200 people, and Clare said they’re expecting to be near capacity.

General admission tickets allow for 3 hours of tasting and a souvenir sampling glass, while VIP tickets offer an additional fourth hour of tasting and exclusive access to several more beers. Tickets purchased up to five days before the event will be $50.50 for general admission, and $72.50 for VIP.

Tickets are available at the Portland On Tap website.


Twelve’s executive chef, Colin Wyatt, will take his culinary chops down south later this month for a collaboration dinner at the buzzy Chubby Fish seafood restaurant in Charleston, S.C.

The one-night event is set for Tuesday, Jan. 30. Wyatt will partner with Chubby Fish chef-owner James London for a five-course dinner featuring classic seafood dishes from both Maine and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Twelve Pastry Chef Georgia Macon will contribute a dessert course.

In its glowing review of Chubby Fish, Conde Nast Traveler said the restaurant “may become the epicenter of Charleston seafood.”

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